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SSTI Digest

Senate advances bill to reauthorize, expand EDA

By a bipartisan vote on Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved legislation that would reauthorize the Economic Development Administration for the first time since 2004. The bill amends the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 and does not affect the technology-based economic development programs authorized through separate legislation that are administered by EDA.

The National Science Board releases the biennial Science and Engineering Indicators report

The National Science Board released the biennial Science and Engineering Indicators report on Wednesday. This report compiles data about the composition of the U.S. research enterprise and its trajectory relative to that of other nations. It covers data collected through 2021.

Massachusetts Governor proposes over $2 billion for major initiatives in life sciences, climatetech, and AI

On March 1, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey introduced and filed her administration’s anticipated economic development measure, AN Act Relative to Strengthening Massachusetts’ Economic Leadership, or the Mass Leads Act. The measure seeks to reauthorize the state’s life sciences investments at $1 billion for the next decade, launch a separate $1 billion, 10-year climatetech initiative, and build on the momentum of the state's CHIPS + Science wins by proposing targeted investments in advanced manufacturing and robotics. It also includes $100 million to create an Applied AI Hub in Massachusetts. It seeks to advance the strategies, implement the policies, and fund the initiatives Healy laid out in her economic development plan, Team Massachusetts—Leading Future Generations, which was released in December and presented in her 2024 State of the State address.

A federal judge rules MBDA violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection

A federal judge in Texas has ruled that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency’s presumption that businesses owned by Blacks, Latinos and other minorities are disadvantaged violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection. Unless it appeals, the Department of Commerce, which oversees MBDA, will be forced to immediately cease using an applicant’s race or ethnicity in determining eligibility for the program. An appeal seems likely, but, according to an article in the Washington Post, it would go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which has a conservative majority.

SSTI updates key technology area investment data tool

Last August, SSTI released a data tool exhibiting investment activity across 18 key technology areas. The tool comprises two interactive visuals and a downloadable data file and uses Pitchbook technology verticals selected to align with many of the key technology focus areas defined in the CHIPS and Science Act. The tool breaks down the number of investment-backed companies, investment deals, and amount of capital invested by each state, year (January 1, 2013-December 31, 2023), and investment stage (e.g., seed, angel, venture). SSTI has updated the underlying data through December 31, 2023.

NSF report takes deep dive on perception of S&T, where public learns about science

Americans have a strong level of confidence in scientists and scientific institutions overall, as SSTI reported in a Digest article in December 2023. A new NSF report reviews recent literature about public perceptions, awareness, and information sources for science, and reports strong support for science. However, in their extensive literature review, the authors found evidence of current uncertainty and varying levels of awareness and acceptance of newer technologies, such as AI, robotics, and automotive automation.

Congress to fund Commerce and Science agencies in first half of FY 2024 action

More than five months into fiscal year 2024, Congress has approved an agreement covering six of the twelve annual appropriations bills. Many tech-based economic development (TBED) programs received funding equal to the FY 2023 base appropriation—a strong sign of support for a year in which Congress agreed to return to FY 2022 overall spending levels and many programs across the federal government, therefore, saw cuts. However, because Congress has not agreed to provide again the supplemental funding that fueled robust spending last year, the FY 2024 budget actually provides hundreds of millions of dollars less in total TBED spending than was appropriated in FY 2023.

TBED community shares benefits, challenges of using Salesforce for grant management and reporting

In a webinar last week, staff from BioSTL and SSTI shared their organizations’ use of Salesforce for grant management and reporting. It facilitated a lively discussion among the more than 100 attendees about technical and practical challenges and solutions for the platform. The presentation and recording are now available here. In a poll last year, participants in the Tech-based Economic Development (TBED) Community of Practice identified Salesforce as the most commonly used customer management system (CMS) in the field (followed by Excel and with HubSpot and Microsoft Dynamics as other common solutions). SSTI previously shared a demonstration of AirTable’s use for managing TBED initiatives and seeks organizations willing to discuss other platforms. To volunteer your experience or to get more information about the TBED Community of Practice, contact tbedcop@ssti.org.

NSF awards $20 Million to emerging research institutions

Last week, the National Science Foundation announced it would provide $21.4 million to four projects at emerging research institutions (ERIs) to advance research administration infrastructure and support systems at non-R1 institutions.

Improving university commercialization success

Why do some universities excel at translating their research into economic impact while others lag? A recent NBER working paper explores the factors influencing the variation in universities' commercialization activities. The authors follow the career movements of 31,000 academic researchers across 1,100 U.S. universities and analyze how the situations at the different host universities may have influenced an increase or decrease in these researchers’ subsequent patent filings and company formations.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2024: Innovation agendas from the governors’ State of the State addresses—Part 7

In this week’s continuing coverage of gubernatorial addresses as they impact the innovation economy, governors from Illinois, Mississippi, and New Hampshire discussed their state’s past economic, educational, and workforce achievements and laid out their vision for this year, while New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy presented his proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget, building upon his State of State address and proposed initiatives delivered last month. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker called for a $700 million investment in quantum (see separate article), Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves focused on how to make his state the new manufacturing hub for America, and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy provided more details on his proposal for AI-focused activities. In New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Sununu called for continued fiscal prudence, bipartisan solutions, and empowering the private sector to maintain his state’s current and future successes.

NYC Launches Green Energy Action Plan

Leaders within the largest city in the United States, and one of the most influential in the world, recognize the daunting challenges resulting from New York City’s vulnerability to climate change—evidenced already in violent storms, flooding, and rising sea levels—as well as the economic opportunity that comes in combating the negative impacts of that change and reducing the city’s contributions to further temperature rise. As a result, it should not surprise Digest readers that the Green Economy Action Plan released by New York City Mayor Eric Adams on February 28 is saturated with innovation and TBED-centered initiatives.